Yesterday saw the first seven new TLDs (top-level domains) go live for domain registration. Until now URLs (website addresses) have either had to end in a generic TLDs (gTLD) like .com, .net, .org or any of the country code TLDs (ccTLD) like .co.za or .com.au for example.
The first batch of seven new TLDs that went live are .bike, .singles, .clothing, .guru, .holdings, .plumbing, and .ventures with US based registrar Donuts promising new TLDs being added every week until at least the end of April. Next week will see the launch of .camera, .equipment, .graphics and .photography for the snap happy member of the internet to pursue.
The expansion is designed to give businesses and people the chance to have a more descriptive URL for their site. Clothing retailers like Edgars for example will register the domain edgars.clothing while camera manufacturers like Nikon will snap up (excuse the pun) nikon.camera when it launches. The expansion of TLDs isn’t limited to common nouns either with geographic TLDs (GeoTLD) .joburg, .capetown and .durban expected to be available before the end of the year.
The one new TLD that we’re waiting for is, of course, is the .africa moniker which forms the second half of our name. We spoke to Neil Dundas the COO of the ZA Central Registry (ZACR), the organisation responsible for the .co.za domain and the new GeoTLDs when they arrive later this year. He confirmed that there had been a delay in the start of the process from the 1st of March to some time in April or May which has delayed the general availability of the .africa domains to October 2014.
While many will be relishing the opportunity to grab their piece of the new internet pie, businesses will be faced with the dilemma of registering multiple domains to protect their online persona. Companies with offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban will have to decide whether a .co.za URL is enough for them or if more differentiation, and the accompanying expense, is needed.
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